Thursday, May 17, 2012

Trayvon Martin Rally Showed The Need For Local Organization




by Jaaye Person-Lynn, Esq.
Though the Trayvon Martin Rally that was held at West Angeles Church's North Campus on April 26, 2012 was very well publicized, I had missed the memo.
Atty Ben Crump for Trayvon Martin's family, Ben Jealous, Nat'l head of the NAACP and more.
After I read who was to participate, Rev. Sharpton, Rev. Jackson, Trayvon Martin’s family and a host of celebrities, I knew my friend Fred Martin’s tragic story would be taken further and that I would personally leave more inspired to continue the work of finding the killers and reaching our goal of raising $25,000 for Fred’s children at www.wepay.com/donations/mac-martin-kid-s-fund.  I did leave inspired, but it wasn’t quite what I expected.  (Fred Martin, his best friend Joey Hickman and his 8 year-old son “Tre”, AKA Fred Martin III had been clearing out Fred’s grandmother’s garage to make room for a motorcycle.  Two gunmen walked up on foot and opened fire.  Fred dove on top of his son to save his life, but lost his own in the process.  He is our hero. Joey and Tre were hit too, but survived.)
Family of Trayvon Martin at West Angeles COGIC in L.A.
All the speakers were great, on point, motivating and inspiring.  Though a few were a bit longer then they needed to be, no one was there grandstanding.  But something was missing.  Even as I sat on the stage with the speakers and the families, I felt a bit removed from the event.  After the rally was over, I thought about it and realized the reason I felt something was missing was because it was a national event and I am a local dude.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not taking anything away from the event.  The Trayvon Martin Foundation is a national foundation and the purpose of the rally was to launch the foundation.  It did what it was supposed to do.
Besides the families of the victims, the vast majority of the speakers were not Angelenos and have boarded flights back to wherever they came from.  Yes Supervisor Ridley-Thomas was present, yes Councilman Parks was present, yes Najee Ali was present, but none of them addressed the crowd.  I’m not suggesting they should have, given it already went long, by 30 plus minutes. I’m just pointing out it didn’t feel like The Empowerment Congress Summits feel.  It couldn’t have though.  All of the Empowerment Congress organizers are local.  You know they will be here tomorrow and the next day.
Atty. (left) and family of Kendrec McDade.  Najee Ali, is to the right.
What the rally inspired me to do was to seek out more local organizations surrounding the issues of Black men losing their life unjustly.  It should not take Rev. Jesse Jackson or Rev. Al Sharpton to speak up for Fred or more recently the unarmed Kendrec McDade, killed by police in Pasadena.  They are our friends, brothers, sons, and family.  Fred Martin is truly a hometown hero and his hometown needs to speak up and act for him.  Then, when our National leaders come to LA, we can pack out the house and we will all feel inspired knowing things will be followed up on.   
Fellow Hamptonians.
Me with members of Fred Martin's family
Today, I attended the “20 Years Later: A Day of Dialogue” put on by Community Partners. It was very much informational and very much local.  There is also the Empowerment Congress, Cease Fire LA, NAACP LA, NAN LA, The Urban League, 100 Black Men of LA and Long Beach, your church, your block club and you!  No one should lead our struggle but us.  There is a group forming that meets at the Scientology Center led by Brother Tony Mohammed and Pastor Louis Logan on Tuesdays at 6:30pm. 
I’m not saying the local organization isn’t there, I’m just saying it needs to be taken to the next level.  We don’t need a new organization, we need to work with what we have and max them out until a new need is developed. 
I am Fred Martin! I am Anthony Dunn! I am Kendrick McDade!  And so are you!  Let’s act like it!

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